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  • FIRST POST
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 30th Sep 17, 8:22 PM
    • 26Posts
    • 6Thanks
    rvj87
    ESA work assessment
    • #1
    • 30th Sep 17, 8:22 PM
    ESA work assessment 30th Sep 17 at 8:22 PM
    Hoping I can get some help/confirmation with this. I also hope that this is an error on the DWP's part. I have been sent a letter informing me that I failed to attend a work capability assessment on the 27th of September. I have absolutely no record of a letter or phone call informing me about an assessment, yet I am now being told that I have until the 9th to give the DWP a reason for not attending. I am very confused about this; I have been claiming income related esa for about three years now, and was placed in the support group. I understood that being in the support group meant that I would not be required to attend assessments. I was not aware that I would have to be reassessed every three years. What's going on here? should I contact the DWP asap and get them to re-send my letter? Any help or info would be hugely appreciated.
Page 2
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 1st Oct 17, 6:22 PM
    • 1,102 Posts
    • 1,219 Thanks
    NeilCr
    Neil,

    I would like a sticky on this board with all the accronyms. I would hope that others here would explain what the accronyms mean to people who don't know. I also hope that by using them more that people here will get to know them as I explain them quite often. It is just quicker for me to type. And where I say HOTT or MSRS.......... if a caller phones ESA and says that word or initials to the ESA enquiry agent the enquiry agent will know what they mean.
    Originally posted by epitome
    But this board/forum has lots of other things going on. “Hoping” that others will explain acronyms etc just isn’t going to happen

    And, I know damn well from sitting next to clients speaking to the DWP how flustered they get when asked to repeat an acronym/being asked what it means etc etc.

    And if you think all DWP staff know what HOTT or MSRS means well..... And even if they do it’s an easy out if it’s clear the client is struggling to question them

    I ask again what it your actual experience of working with clients dealing directly with DWP? And, again, your knowledge is, clearly, amazing. But making it more “user friendly”would be even more amazing!
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 1st Oct 17, 6:37 PM
    • 1,864 Posts
    • 3,874 Thanks
    IAmWales
    Hi rvj,

    I notice you are in Nottinghamshire. Can I suggest you call Disability Nottinghamshire? They're at Mansfield but will help anyone in the county. There are also advice centres based in the city area that can help.

    epitome, I'm pretty knowledgeable on benefits but have cognitive difficulties, and honestly, your posts go right over my head. I can't imagine how daunting they are to someone in distress and/ or with no knowledge of the system. Your excellent advice is largely lost due to all the jargon.
    • atolaas
    • By atolaas 1st Oct 17, 6:43 PM
    • 1,081 Posts
    • 5,289 Thanks
    atolaas
    I will have to do this on my own. When post is delivered it's left in a communal area so I suppose it might have been thrown out by accident. I want to call them tomorrow because I want to know where they sent my esa50 and letter saying I have to attend an assessment.
    Originally posted by rvj87
    If you don't live too far from the Job Centre, you could ask to pick up letters from there - rather than having them delivered to your address, where they maybe thrown away by accident. Good luck tomorrow. Do let us know how you get on!
    SPC7 ~ Member#390 ~ £432.45 declared
    Re-joined SW 9 Feb 2015 1 stone lost so far

    Her Serene Highness the Princess Atolaas of the Alphabetty Thread as appointed by Queen Upsidedown Bear
    • epitome
    • By epitome 1st Oct 17, 6:55 PM
    • 3,027 Posts
    • 1,837 Thanks
    epitome
    Rvj87,

    Ok if you are going to phone...ask them a couple of questions
    You don't have to ask about the ESA50 as I said above it could complicate matters.

    only these...and only if you want to.
    • Was my medical appointment letter sent to my correct address?
    • What date was it sent?
    I ask you to find out the date it was sent because it must be sent 7 days or more before the appointment. So it must have been sent on or before the 20th Sept or 21st Sept to have been properly sent (it depends on where the 7 days are counted from _I don't know exactly).


    How about something like this.... The bit in blue to be reworded only if it is true...Did you give the DWP your mobile number? 3 years ago did you go to your medical assessment without any issues of missing any appointments? Have you been assessed before 3 years ago or was that your first?


    "I am sorry I have missed one of your assessments, I did not receive an appointment letter, a phone call or text about the appointment.
    The ESA enquiry line has confirmed that Medical Services did not hold my correct mobile number, this explains why I got no text, but they did have my correct address. As you can see from my previous assessment 3 years ago, I have shown good faith in that I did attend to the first appointment I was given at that time.

    I wanted to attend my next assessment and I would have had no problem in attending. I believe this has happened because my letters are delivered by Royal Mail into a shared hallway and I think they may have been taken by other people who live here or who have visited here. I had no idea that I might have been losing post until now. To stop this from happening again, I am willing to change my address that you have to a correspondence address, my xxxxxxx 's address is yyyyy yyyyyyyyyyyyy

    My health problem has gotten worse recently, I'm currently in contact with the crisis team, and now, this letter has made me panic about what will happen to my benefit. In order to reply to you I have asked someone to help me to explain this to you."



    Where xxxxxxx is family member or friend or local help centre who will be willing to keep your post for you...but you must check often..

    Also you asked earlier..do you have to use their letter that they sent you....no you don't, you can write your own letter, but you might decide to put on their letter/form "Please see attached reasons" then have their letter scanned and your letter scanned, or dictate over phone, (you may have to insist that you want this to be done by phone).
    Last edited by epitome; 01-10-2017 at 8:01 PM.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 1st Oct 17, 7:43 PM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 1,685 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    RVJ87,

    It is obviously not your fault in any way. Please don't get too distressed.
    It can be sorted.

    At my local CAB, we do see examples of DWP letters going astray (particularly if your post is left in a communal area), if you contact the DWP they will generally accept this and reschedule.

    There are a few things you can do to get this sorted:-
    Write a letter saying that you didn't receive the letter with your appointment date, that you didn't receive an ESA50 form, that your post goes to a communal area, if you are in the support group on grounds of mental health tell them this, that you are very distressed and worried about this, if you have had other post going astray then mention this, that you don't have family nearby who can help you, etc - I'm sure you get the picture!
    As Epitome suggested use this when you ring them tomorrow.
    Then post the letter you have written to the address on the DWP letter (do remember to take a copy for yourself as proof!) include your NI number as a reference.
    So then you have phoned the DWP and written to them with your reasons (and have proof that you have done so).

    I would also suggest you go to your local CAB / advice agency / or the organisation IAmWales has suggested - there will be some support out there for you - explain what has happened, show them the copy of your letter. Then ask them if they will be able to help you if you do need further help with this. It is possible they may be able to make a telephone call on your behalf if it's needed in the future.
    The other thing the CAB may be able to help you with is writing the ESA50 form (which you should have got before the appointment letter) when it eventually arrives.

    Please try not to worry (I know it's easy for me to say that). You can get help with this.

    Best wishes
    Take care of yourself

    BTW - Is there a local MIND group who might also be able to help?

    Edit I was slow writing this - Epitome has good suggestions of what to say / write in his post above.
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 01-10-2017 at 7:56 PM.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 1st Oct 17, 8:23 PM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 1,685 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    Your Housing Benefit can be paid regardless.
    Make your council housing benefit dept aware of what has happened.
    It won't stop if you tell them - you may need to show them some recent bank statements.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 2nd Oct 17, 6:05 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    Thank you everyone for your kindness and supportive messages. I rang the DWP today. After asking the questions you suggested, epitome, I started getting somewhere. Apparently, what happened was my form and letter were sent to my mother's old address. This is because she was still listed as my appointee; Even though she relinquished appointeeship several years ago they still had her details for some reason. The representative I spoke to told me that a message would be sent, and my mother's details would be taken off my file, and the form and letter sent to my address. She left a note on my file explaining what had happened. I also sent my letter with proof of postage, so with a bit of luck I should be given a chance. Apologies if I don't reply to any further queries right away; I've had a bit of a busy day today.
    • epitome
    • By epitome 2nd Oct 17, 8:48 PM
    • 3,027 Posts
    • 1,837 Thanks
    epitome
    Ok great news you got there.

    I understand you are busy, reply when you get a chance. I won't read it until tomorrow evening anyway.

    My advice...

    You can, if you choose to, trust that person has done the recommended actions...but seeing how important this is that your benefits do not get stopped...I recommend you to err on the side of caution and do the following tomorrow. Tuesday. I cannot stress enough how much I recommend that you do this.

    Phone ESA and ask them to check that a handover was sent yesterday stating your reasons for fail to attend Work Cap Assessment.

    If they say that a handover has been sent. ask them to read to you, the contents of the handover.

    If they say that a handover has not been sent ask them to tell you what and where the person from yesterday wrote for you on the system notes? Then you should insist that your reasons are sent in a handover to "Maintenance - WCA" (if you have a phone, tell them you want a call back -you can insist on a call back if you have to...they are not allowed to refuse your request/insistance). You want a call back to be sure that your reasons of fail to attend have been received by "Maintenance WCA" and have been sent to the Decision maker. They should call you within 24 hours to confirm this....


    By the way, I am just curious, because the Step 1, Step 2 Step 3 and Step 4 letters are all sent by Medical Services, so if what you say is true then...either

    * at step 4 they must have sent it to the wrong address because their system was saying your appointee mum's old address, they made a mistake and by chance sent it to your residential address - which would have been a mistake, but that mistake has saved you a lot of stress, because otherwise Step 4 letter would also have gone to your mum's old address and the first you would have known about this would be in 3 weeks time when you did not get paid.

    * OR someone fixed the MSRS system address between steps 3 and 4

    * OR the person you spoke to yesterday made a mistake.

    Incase it was the last one, I would be asking the person you speak to tomorrow to confirm the dates the letters were sent and the address each one was sent to.


    I'd also like you to keep updating this thread until the decision has been made and then I can keep giving you advice, because it is not over yet.
    Last edited by epitome; 02-10-2017 at 8:52 PM.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 3rd Oct 17, 1:44 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    Hi,
    I just rang the DWP. The representative confirmed that the reason for my failure to attend had been passed on to the decision maker, and that my letters were sent to my mother's old address. My mum's address is also being removed from the system today. Apparently the details were left temporarily so that the decision maker could see that they were outdated (or something like that).
    • epitome
    • By epitome 3rd Oct 17, 8:35 PM
    • 3,027 Posts
    • 1,837 Thanks
    epitome
    When it comes to the DWP, I know very well the tricks that they play, to give a caller (you) the impression that everything has been done properly when it has not, or when it could have been done better but it hasn't. Which is why I am about to say what I am about to say, you may think I am being pedantic or annoying or anything else, but I don't care, because all that matters to me is that I give you the benefit of my knowledge, so that you do not have your claim closed next week.

    This is entirely your decision, only you know what they said to you, I don't know what they said, I don't know why they said it has been sent to a DM.

    But I recommended that you ask them if a handover was sent on Monday. Your reply does not mention if they confirmed a handover has been sent or not.

    I asked you -if they say a handover has not been sent- to find out what they have done, what method of communication has been used to relay their finding "the wrong address was used" to the decision maker.

    I said if it has not been done by handover, you should insist that it is sent by handover, and you can request a call back from the horses mouth (Maintenance WCA) to confirm to you that the reasons have definately been sent to a DM.


    Over to you.
    Last edited by epitome; 03-10-2017 at 8:54 PM.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 4th Oct 17, 3:00 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    Hi epitome,
    I took your advice. I called again today and asked if it was specifically a handover that had been sent. The representative confirmed that it was a handover that was sent yesterday. So what's the next step? Is it a case of watch and wait til the 9th?
    • epitome
    • By epitome 4th Oct 17, 9:23 PM
    • 3,027 Posts
    • 1,837 Thanks
    epitome
    It would have been better to have been told what the contents of the handover were....but let's leave it at that.

    Your next step now is to wait.

    When is your next payment due?

    You should phone to ask .
    "Can you tell me if the "Fail To Attend Medical Decision" has been made yet?"
    every so often...up to you how often you call them. I suggest you call them Tuesday next week.

    Your claim will remain in payment until a decision has been made.
    Your chances of a good decision -providing the Decision Maker (DM) gets the real reasons- are excellent, impossible for it to go the wrong way.

    And given what you have done so far, I am 99% sure the DM will get the reasons you have given. So nothing to worry about.


    When the decision is made a re-referral for a medical will begin.

    1 week after this "fail to attend" decision has been made...you could phone
    medical services... 0800 2888777
    To confirm
    You now have a "Live referral for ESA"


    You have an exemption from completing the ESA50, I doubt an ESA50 will be sent to your correct address unless you ask for it to be sent.

    If you want to fill in an ESA50..... you should do so as soon as possible...because it may not be very long before your next medical appointment is made.
    You could get an ESA50 from a local jobcentre, or the next time you call ESA you could ask them to send you one.
    You could then return it by post (envelope provided) and check 3 weeks later that it was received and actioned. (Due to the time involved I do not reccomend post)
    Or once completed, you could phone ESA ask for a jobcentre appointment to have your ESA50 scanned, then phone ESA after 2 or 3 days to check it was actioned. (when the jobcentre scans them they are sent attached to a "handover", so anyone can search for the handover and check it has been opened and the contents actioned...)
    Or you could phone Medical Services once you have a live referral, and choose the "questionaire option" and ask them to make you a telephone appointment so you can dictate your answers to them over the phone.



    I strongly advise you ... once you have phoned Medical Services and confirmed they have a "Live Referral for ESA" ... To confirm they have your correct address and mobile on their system...and
    To phone Medical Services 0800 2888777 every week on the same day every week, (because this will only work if you phone them every 7 days or less) to ask them
    "Has a Work Capability Assessment appointment been made yet?"
    Eventually they will say "yes" and you can ask them when it is.

    Missing a WCA can very easily result in claim closure, and it can be impossible to get the decision changed, resulting in extremely difficult circumstances for you. Better to phone them every week, than it is to miss your next appointment..... even if you end up phoning them for next 20 weeks,
    0800 2888777
    Last edited by epitome; 04-10-2017 at 9:28 PM.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 5th Oct 17, 12:21 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    My next payment is due on the 16th. I'll call them again on tuesday and then get on to medical services.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 10th Oct 17, 2:44 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    Hi,
    Rang the DWP today. Apparently the decision has yet to be made. I'm waiting for a call back, but I'm not looking forward to it. I am terrified that something will go wrong and I'll be made to claim universal credit instead. After what I've been hearing about it, I don't think I would be able to cope.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 10th Oct 17, 5:24 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    Surprise, surprise. Nothing at all from the DWP. I'll call them tomorrow.
    • epitome
    • By epitome 10th Oct 17, 8:12 PM
    • 3,027 Posts
    • 1,837 Thanks
    epitome
    As long as you are satisfied that the correct reason has been sent to the DM, that the letter was sent to an old appointee address, because no one at DWP updated the MSRS address.

    There is no need to ask for any more call backs, just wait for the decision. You can enquire if the decision has been made yet as often or as little as you like, (I would recommend at least once a week).

    However, if you eventually do get the bad news "decision not allowed" which would be totally unexpected.... Don't wait to come back and ask advice here...on the same phonecall, you will be calling enquiries when they tell you, ask them to send a handover for a "Verbal Explanation" ....... When you get the DM calling you with a verbal.... you can ask if they are aware the letter was sent to an old appointee address, you can then ask them for a Written Statement of Reasons to be sent... And you can ask the DM to put through a Mandatory Reconsideration for you straight away.

    Did you get an ESA50 from the jobcentre or posted to you yet?
    Last edited by epitome; 10-10-2017 at 8:17 PM.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 13th Oct 17, 3:40 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    I rang the DWP yet again. The decision has still not been made. however apparently another ESA payment will be made to my account on Monday. The representative said I could expect a callback either today or on Monday. I asked whether or not an ESA50 had been sent.

    The representative said that an appointment to attend a WCA will be sent when the decision has been made. I mentioned that, up until now, whenever I've had my circumstances reviewed by the DWP, I have been sent an ESA50, filled it in and sent it back, and not been contacted for a WCA. I forget exactly what I was told. I'm just confused now. Why haven't they made a decision? Why have they asked me to attend a WCA without sending an ESA50 in the first place?

    This has happened before; in 2015 when I moved to Nottingham, I called to register a change of address, and they never actioned the change. My ESA50 was sent to my old address in Newcastle and my benefits were stopped. I am terrified of the same thing happening now. I will have to fight to not be put on Universal Credit.

    Incidentally, if the WCA goes ahead and they make a wrongful decision that I'm fit to work (I'm not, and I can get the notes and letters to prove it) what should be my course of action? I'll have to go to tribunal or something- I think the stress would kill me. The constant sick feeling in my stomach is wearing me out.as it is and I don't think I could handle being told that I must claim a benefit that doesn't even pay people for at least six weeks and constantly gets payments wrong.
    • epitome
    • By epitome 13th Oct 17, 9:17 PM
    • 3,027 Posts
    • 1,837 Thanks
    epitome
    I rang the DWP yet again. The decision has still not been made. however apparently another ESA payment will be made to my account on Monday. The representative said I could expect a callback either today or on Monday. I asked whether or not an ESA50 had been sent.
    Originally posted by rvj87
    Why are you asking for call backs?
    Did he say if anyone has sent you a duplicate ESA50 yet?
    If ESA50 was sent out more than 1 week ago ask them to send another.
    They won't send one unless you say to them "Please send me an ESA50"
    Or you can pick one up from your jobcentre.

    The representative said that an appointment to attend a WCA will be sent when the decision has been made.
    He cannot know what the decision will be, (although very likely to be good cause), he also cannot know how soon or long after the decision is made will it take for CHDA to give you a new apoointment.
    I mentioned that, up until now, whenever I've had my circumstances reviewed by the DWP, I have been sent an ESA50, filled it in and sent it back, and not been contacted for a WCA.
    In response to that he should have sent that is a decision for CHDA to make when they get an ESA50 from you. (but do not send it back yet)

    I forget exactly what I was told. I'm just confused now. Why haven't they made a decision?
    Because the Decision Maker is very busy.
    Why have they asked me to attend a WCA without sending an ESA50 in the first place?
    They did send an ESA50, it was not returned, so they had to move on without it.

    This has happened before; in 2015 when I moved to Nottingham, I called to register a change of address, and they never actioned the change. My ESA50 was sent to my old address in Newcastle and my benefits were stopped. I am terrified of the same thing happening now. I will have to fight to not be put on Universal Credit.
    You have an excellent reason for not attending, as I said way above this post, all you need to be sure of at this stage is that the correct reason has been noted down and sent to the DM....then you wait.

    Incidentally, if the WCA goes ahead and they make a wrongful decision that I'm fit to work (I'm not, and I can get the notes and letters to prove it) what should be my course of action? I'll have to go to tribunal or something- I think the stress would kill me. .
    If that happened you would Man Recon first, then appeal, you would be paid ESA on appeal, but there would be a few weeks waiting for your Man Recon where you would not be paid, but when you appealed, you would get it all back paid. But you would also need to get sick notes from the date they stopped your claim.
    Last edited by epitome; 13-10-2017 at 9:20 PM.
    • rvj87
    • By rvj87 14th Oct 17, 12:44 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    rvj87
    I am not asking for a callback; every time I call I am told that somebody will ring me back with a decision. Every time I ring to ask if a decision has been made, the person I am speaking to tells me that a decision has not yet been made, and that somebody will get in touch with me to tell me when a decision has been made.

    I have not been told whether or not an ESA50 was sent. I don't know why I would recieve one until the decision has actually been made.

    I don't know what CHDA is. Should I continue to wait for a decision to be made and then go from there?
    • epitome
    • By epitome 14th Oct 17, 3:31 PM
    • 3,027 Posts
    • 1,837 Thanks
    epitome
    I am not asking for a callback;
    Originally posted by rvj87
    Oh Ok
    every time I call I am told that somebody will ring me back with a decision
    No, they won't ring you when the decision has been made. Just ignore anyone who says that to you...it won't happen.
    Every time I ring to ask if a decision has been made, the person I am speaking to tells me that a decision has not yet been made, and that somebody will get in touch with me to tell me when a decision has been made.
    No they won't.

    I have not been told whether or not an ESA50 was sent.
    You were told it was sent in post #27

    I don't know why I would recieve one until the decision has actually been made.
    You won't receive one, neither before or after the decision has been made...unless you ask them to send you one...or pick one up from the local jobcentre. If you want CHDA to have your ESA50 for the assessment, you should get hold of one ASAP fill it in and either:
    • Post it to the ESA Benefit Centre address (not advisable)
    • Have an appointment at Jobcentre to have it scanned to ESA or
    • Send it to CHDA - but not until CHDA has a new "live referral" for you....which means not now.
    • Once you have completed it, phone CHDA and choose option "help with questionaire" they will make appointment to call you back, and you can dictate your answers to them by phone.


    I don't know what CHDA is.
    CHDA = HAAS = Maximus = ATOS = Medical Services 0800 2 888777 = The people who do the medical assessments.
    Should I continue to wait for a decision to be made and then go from there?
    Yes. Except you should ask for an ESA50 to be sent to you and get cracking on that...
    Last edited by epitome; 14-10-2017 at 3:39 PM.
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